Tag Archives: Preschool Garden

Squirrely Garden Gets a Grant!

Squirrely Garden is the garden at Baby’s amazing Forest School. And I am the CEO of Squirrely Garden (best title ever). As an (unpaid) CEO I think up many duties for myself such as the obvious (weeding, digging, wheelbarrowing) but also documenting the garden’s progress with photos and emailing the school with garden to-do’s.  I also designed the layout of the garden when we first dug the plots back in May. When the school wanted to apply for a grant from Gateway Greening, I helped them fill out the application and when it was time to tour the folks from GG with the school owners, I wore a baseball hat that says “Plays in the Dirt”. Clearly I take my CEO duties very seriously. Well, we cinched the deal and got the grant! The install date was today and Squirrely Garden gained four raised beds, six cubic yards of dirt, a slew of garden tools for little hands and the piece de resistance…(I’ll let that one be a surprise for the end of this post)…

A great turnout for the installation of the raised beds!

A great turnout for the installation of the raised beds!

Baby and her friend checking out the action

Baby and her friend checking out the action

Baby taking a break on the death-trap concrete slide soon-to-be ice luge

Baby taking a break on the death-trap concrete slide soon-to-be ice luge

Woo! Dirt Delivery!

Woo! Dirt Delivery!

Weeeee!

Weeeee!

In addition to installing the raised beds, we also edged some of the existing plots and moved some plants and harvested green tomatoes and lots of herbs.

Dock, sans leaves

Dock, sans leaves

Moving lemon grass

Moving lemon grass

Three big lemon grass plants were moved out of the garden down to the playground area. Lemon grass is a natural mosquito repellant.

Many helpers...

Many helpers…

Lots of dirt to move

Lots of dirt to move

The chef composts everything. This is a method for getting air throughout the pile of green manure.

The chef composts everything. This is a method for getting air throughout the pile of green manure.

Move over Richard Serra, Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer.

Move over Richard Serra, Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer.

Squirrely Garden 9.20.14

Squirrely Garden 9.20.14

What's that?

What’s that?

A little garden snake! (I think it is a juvenile black rat snake)

A little garden snake! (I think it is a juvenile black rat snake)

All the kids got to check it out.

All the kids got to check it out.

Weeding

Weeding..and what’s that in the background…leaning on the fence…?

The piece de resistance…

Check out the shiny new sign!

Check out the shiny new sign!

Thanks Gateway Greening!

Thanks Gateway Greening!

Squirrely Garden Sneak Peek

School’s Out! But summer at Forest School is just beginning!

Forest School

Forest School

Dining Hall

Dining Hall

In Uniform (school t-shirt; green, of course!)

In Uniform (school t-shirt; green, of course!)

Forest Finds

Forest Finds

Customized Forest Finds!

Customized Forest Finds!

Tools and Inspiration

Tools and Inspiration

Squirrely Garden, the garden at Baby’s school, is looking great…

Sneak Peek at Squirrely Garden!

Sneak Peek at Squirrely Garden!

Most of the planting is finished, the teachers (and students!) have been working hard! One more dirt delivery and a bit more planting and she’s good to grow!

The plots are numbered, to make "to do" lists easier to communicate. An important feature of a community garden!

The plots are numbered, to make “to do” lists easier to communicate. An important feature of a community garden!

As the Garden CEO, my job will be to take frequent garden walks and communicate necessary garden “to-do’s” so the kids/teachers/parents know what needs to be done! First on the list today was: plant seed potatoes!

Squirrely Squirrel

Squirrely Squirrel

Back at home in Spy Garden…

Things are a little squirrely here too!

Things are a little squirrely here too!

Check out that fur!

Check out that fur!

Orange Squirrel!

Orange Squirrel!

Sneak peek at the new teepee!

Sneak peek at the new teepee!

Toad in Spotlight

Toad in Spotlight

Toad Three-Quarter Profile

Toad Three-Quarter Profile

Pensive Toad

Pensive Toad

Toad Portrait

Toad Portrait

Toad, Snail, Nasturtium Leaf Still Life

Toad, Snail, Nasturtium Leaf Still Life

Hahaha

A Brand New Garden!

Even though I’ve started a new job as a nurse,

with quite a lovely commute

with quite a lovely commute,

There’s still plenty of time for gardening.

In fact, there’s time for an entirely NEW garden!

Baby is attending a new school on an eleven acre campus.

11 acres for Babyzilla to explore!

11 acres for Babyzilla to explore! Plan by D2G landscape design.

The playground is au natural, the property is wooded, there will be meadows…The school is working with individuals from the Missouri Department of Conservation to establish proper native meadow habitats (think Shaw Nature Preserve on a smaller scale).

The best part, of course, is…a brand new garden! And I am the Garden CEO! Woooo!

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

We walked the site last Sunday to scout it out to create a garden plan.

The Spy checking out the construction progress inside the building.

The Spy checking out the construction progress inside the building.

He attended this same preschool (at a smaller campus), and is excited for his sister to attend the new and improved school!

View of the building from the garden

View of the building from the garden

Can you spot the Spy in the picture above? He had a great time walking the site even if…

It was a little bit muddy.

It was a little bit muddy.

I am a big believer that in order to create inviting garden spaces (especially that are inviting to kids) you need to abandon the typical rectangular raised beds and create raised beds with lovely curves that mimic and enhance the landscape surrounding the garden. I am also opposed to using materials (wood/stone/etc.) as borders for raised beds because it really limits you when you want to expand/change the shapes/size of the beds. To see how I begin this process of raised beds without “typical” borders/rectangles see the post on How to Dig. To read more about why I believe in “thinking beyond the rectangle” check out this post from when I planted our garlic in a spiral: Garlic Planting.

After very thorough…

Scouting...

Scouting…

Photographing...

Photographing…

Looking...

Looking…

thinking…

and looking some more...

and looking some more…

I came up with this plan:

Garden Plan (500x388)

Even though the plan is not exactly drawn to scale, the diameter of the teepee will be at least ten feet (it needs to accommodate lots of little preschoolers!) The area outside the teepee will serve as a gathering/meeting area for important garden talks!

What all will be planted in each of the plots?

Hold your horses! We’ve got to dig the thing first! Loads of seedlings can be started on/before March 1st and by the time they are ready to go in the ground mid-March (through mid-May) we’ll have their destinations mapped out!

Here are some more notable features/explanations of the plan:

  • All of the numbered plots are the raised beds. They will be raised beds without wood borders (so just an edged out border created by digging them as I mentioned). They will be numbered to enable more organized approach to garden duties (as the kids/parents/teachers will be working in the garden)
  • The teepee will have a roughly 10’ diameter, so though the drawing isn’t exactly to scale, that measurement on the plan can be used to gauge the rough sizes of the beds. Beds #5-9 would be roughly 3’ x 10’ rectangles. Plenty of room between them to make them wider in coming years/seasons (and/or longer).
  • Lots of open grass space at the entry way of the garden. More plots could be added there in later seasons/years.
  • Room for a kid-sized produce stand (basically a long, low table with a sun-shade above) (somewhere near the entrance in the large grassy area)
  • Gathering area outside the teepee will be a large grassy area and will feel enclosed because of the teepee and the plot surrounding it.
  • All the ground around the plots is grass (as is)
  • The sloped hill is too steep to be worked in by the kids (at least until summer when it is not so slippery/muddy) so it is a perfect place to just let pumpkins grow wild, which should do great sprawling down the hill.
  • Front arbor entry gate will have a sign posted/some type of waterproof plastic board feature to post garden news/to-dos/etc.
  • The path to the garden runs along the big rock retaining wall and swings wide around the muddy “sledding” hill. This was the least steep point of entry to the garden and will avoid cutting through the big sledding hill.

DSC_5949 (500x393)

If you have any suggestions or tips for a preschool garden, please post a comment, I’d love to hear feedback on this plan! I may be the CEO, but I’m no dictator! hahahah

DSC_5947 (500x287)